DUMBO is an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge and it is a former industrial turned yuppish neighborhood. I am not particularly qualified to give a tour of DUMBO because everything I know about the neighborhood I’ve discovered from walking around myself. Then again, I don’t think there’s a lot there, so I’ve tried to capture it all below for those of you who don’t live nearby (please let me know in the comments if I’m leaving out any quintessential DUMBO spots).
I initially found DUMBO disappointing. I first heard of the neighborhood when a family friend’s son, who is an artist was renting a studio there, so I was expecting it to have lots of boutiques and galleries. Instead, it is the most gentrified neighborhood I’ve ever seen, but it’s growing on me. It’s also the closest neighborhood within walking distance from my apartment so I go there whenever I need a change of scenery.
DUMBO begins at the end of the Brooklyn Heights promenade. To enter from Brooklyn Heights, you walk beneath an under path that is part of the Watchtower (the Jehovah’s Witness headquarters).
The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and the River Cafe overlook the water. I think the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is cute, but it could be better if they had more inventive flavors. I also wish they offered smaller portions for smaller prices (a single scoop is $3.50, but it’s more like 2+ scoops).
I’ve never been to the River Cafe, but it’s supposed to be one of the most romantic restaurants in New York. Dinner is prix fix only for $98. per person, so I don’t anticipate going there anytime soon.
Although I complained that DUMBO isn’t artsy, there are some good entertainment venues. I haven’t been to the St. Ann’s Warehouse (a theater), but it looks nice.
The Galapagos Art Space is a performance space and bar. I’ve been a few parties there and I liked it. I also saw an entertaining burlesque show at their old location in Williamsburg. I am going to go to another one and blog about it in the future.
I LOVE carousels! Once I went on the carousel at B’more’s Inner Harbor six time consecutively (possibly more…I was with a child and she wanted to keep going, so I couldn’t say no). Jane’s Carousel (c. 1922) in DUMBO was the first carousel on the National Registrar of Historic Places, but it’s currently nonfunctional. It is owned by a couple who are in negotiations to move it to a soon to be built pavilion in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Jacques Torres Chocolate store and factory reminds me of a sophisticated version of Willy Wonka’s. I tried the famous Wicket Hot Chocolate (with chili peppers!) at the West Village location and I thought it was GROSS, but I don’t like very spicy food, so I shouldn’t fault the product.
I’ve never been to Almondine (a French bakery across the street), but it’s written up a lot in articles about DUMBO.
The waterfront parks around Dumbo are empty and they have spectacular views of Manhattan.
This is a condo in Dumbo. On the ground floor there an outpost of the Tribeca restaurant Bubby’s. I’ve never been there, but I would like to try the Manhattan location because it’s popular with celebrities (and famous for pie and brunch).
There are a lot of former warehouses and factories.
The Eagle Warehouse and Storage Co. is another condo/loft building.
Grimaldi’s is the most famous pizza parlor in Brooklyn. Although I don’t like pizza much, I would be interested in trying it because its supposedly one of the best pizza places in New York and the world and I like to try everything once. Notice the velvet rope…it’s THAT popular.
I didn’t photograph Starbucks, West Elm, or Bo Concept, but they’re there too. While I like all those stores, you certainly don’t need to go out to Brooklyn to visit them. That pretty much sums up DUMBO.